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League Statement on 2005 Fatality Figures
Andy Clarke, League Executive Director
The recent release of the 2005 annual assessment of motor vehicle crashes highlights an alarming trend. Too many of our street designs and vehicle improvements have made it far too easy for drivers to speed and there are many more distractions to driving than ever before. Highway users who are not in cars are increasingly paying the price.
The fact that injuries and fatalities increased in every non-occupant related category clearly demonstrates the need for Congress to pass “Complete Streets” Legislation to ensure that state departments of transportation are fully considering all users when constructing transportation facilities.
Bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes increased by 7.8 percent in 2004, and fatalities have increased more than 20 percent since 2003.
Most U.S. Streets are not “complete streets.” According to a national survey conducted in 2002 by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), about one quarter of walking trips take place without sidewalks or shoulders, and bike lanes are available for only about 5 percent of bike trips.
Making Complete Streets a priority would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote a goal of increasing pedestrian and bicycle trips, while seeking to reduce accidents involving bicycle and pedestrians, consistent with the goals set forth in the National Bicycling and Walking Study conducted in 1994.
It should be also be noted that data take absolutely no account of any increase in bicycle use -- for the simple reason that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have no useful data and have conspicuously failed to collect it for decades. Now more than ever we need to know how many people are riding and walking, and how far they are traveling by foot and bike.